A tiny change at the top and a new entry mark what was one of the most pleasantly surprising tourneys of the year at the SHO.  Sure, everyone had their eyes wander to Augusta all week, but that shouldn’t minimize the fact that the SHO was pretty thrilling, and when coupled with the tough course conditions and loaded field, it carries a lot of weight.  There’s some movement this week, just in time for the Masters.

Onto the rankings.

1. Tiger Woods (2): I had to bump him up due to Phil’s disastrous (not entirely his fault…we’ll discuss in a second) trip to Houston.  Tiger didn’t tee it up, but, be honest, he’s the favorite next week.  The HEAVY favorite.

2. Phil Mickelson (1): Here’s why I don’t care about his crappy showing at the SHO.  He got the shaft in terms of the course’s conditions.  He’ll now have extra time to prepare for the Masters IN Augusta.  He’s still the 2nd best player to put club to ball on the face of the earth.  If Tiger’s the favorite, Phil’s right there with him, but I had to knock him for missing the cut, only I’m just not overly worried about it.

3. Geoff Ogilvy (3): What, I’m going to knock him down for contending when his game was in as bad of form as anyone can remember?  Yea, not happening.  He’s the third favorite.

4. Nick Watney (4): I really struggled with these next few rankings.  Watney is here because of his consistency and his statistical freakishness.  These are the categories that Watney is in the top 10 in:  driving distance, birdie average, scoring average, all-around ranking, FedEx Cup points, money list, and par breakers.  He’s top 25 in putting average, eagles, sand saves and putts per round.  The numbers don’t lie…

5. Paul Casey (NR): No. 5 with a bullet.  Statistically the best putter on tour, and with his win in Qatar, his runner up at the WGC Match Play and his win at the SHO, it’s impossible to keep him off of here.  Mr. Popeye forearms is in great form and he’s made some noise at the Masters in the past so he might not be a terrible pick to make.  He’s made a believer out of me…not that it really matters, he’s always dominated the US in the Ryder Cup, has won numerous times internationally and has a buttload of talent.

6. Kenny Perry (5): The only reason he’s getting knocked down was because he didn’t play and Casey’s resume was too sterling to ignore.

7. Rory McIlroy (7): How does he get bumped up after yet another solid showing at the SHO?  It was difficult, believe me, but I had to do it.  KP has been too good the last few years and I consider McIlroy’s win in Dubai and KP’s at the FBR pretty even all things considering.  The kid’s 19, let’s not crown him yet, tho the minute he gets his first win stateside I’ll be anointing the hell out of him.

8. Sean O’Hair (6): Perhaps a bit unfair, but he didn’t tee it up and McIlroy finished strong.  That happens.

9. Zach Johnson (10): Didn’t play, but gets bumped up because of what happened below.

10. Steve Stricker (9): Missing the cut hurts, but Stricker has had too good of a season to ignore.  He’s going to be a glamour dark horse pick for the Masters and I fully expect him to be in contention at the end.

Dropped off: Sergio Garcia.